The relative socioeconomic disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with non-Indigenous people places them at greater risk of exposure to health risk factors.
In 2004-05, half (50%) of the Indigenous population aged 18 years and over smoked on a daily basis. One in six (16%) reported consuming alcohol at chronic risky/high risk levels in the last week and 19% at short-term risky/high risk levels on a weekly basis. In non-remote areas, 28% of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over reported having used illicit substances in the 12 months prior to interview and 49% reported having tried at least one illicit substance in their lifetime.
More than half (57%) of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over were overweight or obese in 2004-05. In non-remote areas, three-quarters (75%) of Indigenous people were sedentary or engaged in low levels of exercise, while 42% were eating the recommended daily intake of fruit and only 10% the recommended daily intake of vegetables. With the exception of fruit and vegetable consumption, all lifestyle risk factors were associated with fair/poor self-assessed health among Indigenous people in 2004-05.